Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat December 12 2015

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | December 12, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    The Truth About Hitchhiking

    The Truth About Hitchhiking

    PHOTO: Sometimes improvisation is key when there are only two seats — which means laying across furniture up to the roof, squished in nicely.

    I’ll just be blunt: Hitchhiking is a little like playing Russian Roulette — you never know what you’re going to get (and it also has a stigma attached to it.)

    After hearing countless warnings about the dangers of hitchhiking, it’s no surprise your initial reaction may be somewhat skewed.

    However, here’s the truth: Despite what you’ve heard from stories, mothers’ warnings and all those Hollywood movies, hitchhiking is truly invaluable both to your personal growth and how you view the world. Your blinders become removed and for the first time in your life, you will see the world for what it truly is and the people who inhabit it. It may not always be rose-colored but it’s real and that’s what really matters.

    PHOTO: The most exciting aspect of tramping is the excitement in not knowing where you may end up! Every day is an adventure!

    Sure, hitchhiking is a means of getting from point A to B (and free) but it’s so much more than that. It’s about strangers taking a chance on each other. It’s about jumping out of your comfort zone, opening up and re-learning how to trust people.

    It allows you to discover new cultures and perspectives, forces you to learn how to be patient; that smiling goes a long way, that everything will work out in the end and human compassion is still very much alive and well.

    On the flipside, hitchhiking can be a rollercoaster and test you on every level. It can be ruthless, stressful and at some point could probably even make Mother Theresa say the Lord’s name in vain. There will be times where you may wait only one minute for a lift and other times where you will wait for eight hours in the rain, cursing your fate and asking why you decided to do this whole thing. There will be moments of frustration with yourself after you made the wrong choice; awkward silences on long drives and sometimes feeling unsafe … but those are the breaks.

    PHOTO: A candid of life on the road when cooking is involved.

    You will learn the value of a paper map over relying on an iPhone; that the lighter you pack the happier you are, that sometimes it’s okay to call it a night and start fresh in the morning. And you will learn quickly that intuition and a little bit of faith goes a long way.

    In the end, you will have a thicker skin but a softer heart and one hell of a story to tell. From the beautiful people you meet — some of which will change your life — the things that you see and the priceless moments you share, will make you look back when you are older, see that you really lived and that this big-bad-scary world isn’t so scary after all.  


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
Finding Your Transportation at the Cancun Airport

Vacation Packages